Johannes Gutenberg (circa 1400 – February 3, 1468) was responsible for one of the pivotal inventions in all of history: the moveable-type printing press. That invention, more than any other, allowed mankind to begin to collect and disseminate its collective knowledge and progress into the scientific and industrial revolutions. It almost didn't happen. We owe... Continue Reading →
Have you ever been at a loss for words because of the bad driving skills of another motorist? The Germans have come to the rescue with deppenfahrerbeaugung. It literally translates as "moron driver eyeballing" and refers to the look you want to give to the bad driver you have just encountered.
On the surface, it seems too incredible to actually be a fraud. There is the barest hint of the possibility of truth, that you find yourself thinking, "Maybe I really am a distant relative to a Nigerian prince, and this is my big chance to strike it rich." If you start to follow that line... Continue Reading →
The Ténéré Tree was was once considered the most isolated tree on Earth. Located in the Sahara Desert in central Niger, it stood as the only tree within over 250 miles (400 km). As such, it was a rare landmark on caravan routes and was one of the few stable, visible markers that could be... Continue Reading →
Who hasn't gotten sidetracked while shopping and forgot exactly where the car was parked? Some of us try to avoid that problem by parking in the same place each time. Others use a smart phone app to mark the car's location. If you do end up forgetting, it can be irritating, embarrassing, and could result... Continue Reading →
When it came to big names in the Viking community, Hastein was certainly a rising star. This 9th century chieftain made his name with raids in the Frankish Empire (notably avoiding Scotland, as Vikings had been warned to do) and joint efforts with Sweden’s King Björn Ironside to raid countries in the Mediterranean. It was... Continue Reading →
World Standards Day commemorates international efforts to develop voluntary standardization among regulators, industries, and consumers. By using the same measurements and identical baselines, it promotes less waste and greater efficiency. The date to celebrate this international unity is October 14. The United States of America celebrates World Standards Day five days later, on October 19.
What do you do when you live in a high-rise city apartment building and your infant wants to get some fresh air? Why, you set the little crumb cruncher precariously in a flimsy contraption, let it hang out the window, and your problem is solved, of course. Not convinced? Maybe you're just not seeing the... Continue Reading →
People go to amusement parks for thrill rides and to get an adrenaline fix. The excitement comes from the sensation of danger, accompanied by the assurance of safety. Patrons of New Jersey's Action Park got adrenaline -- and more -- from the sensation of danger, accompanied by the real thing. Action Park's safety record was... Continue Reading →
The People's Republic of China prohibits reincarnation without prior permission of the government. The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the revered monk without approval from Beijing. source
Jean Paul Getty (1892-1976) was one of the wealthiest man in the world. In 1966 the Guinness Book of Records named him as the wealthiest man on the planet with a fortune of $1.2 billion ($9.1 billion in 2017). He earned his fortune in the oil business, and in 1996 The Wealthy 100 ranked him as the 67th... Continue Reading →
We all know that pulling a fire alarm as a prank shows serious lack of judgment. When it comes a lack of judgment, however, few could surpass the inventor of the Fire Box Trap. Featured in the February 1938 issue of Modern Mechanix, the Fire Box Trap was designed to discourage pranksters from making false alarms.... Continue Reading →
Ritalin has only been available since the 1950's, but people have had difficulty with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) forever. Inventor Hugo Gernsback offered his solution for highly-distractable people when he invented The Isolator in 1925. Resembling the first appearance of Iron Man, The Isolator was a combination of a gas mask and a diving helmet.... Continue Reading →
From 1940 to 1945, if you wanted to acquire radioactive material in Germany, you didn't have to engage in cloak-and-dagger shenanigans; you simply had to go to the nearest pharmacy and purchase a tube of Doramad toothpaste. Doramad was produced with small quantities of radioactive thorium. This wasn't a manufacturing accident; it was an intentional... Continue Reading →
You can tell a lot about what concerns people by looking at their language. Eskimos have many words for snow. The ancient Greeks had six words for love. It doesn't take a lot to conclude that these were important things for these cultures. Based on this, one can reasonably conclude that Scots are quite concerned... Continue Reading →